Origin of the Mc Neill Clan Name

Mac Neill originates from Clan MacNeill which was a Scottish clan thought to be descended from an O’Neill clan from Ulster. They claim to descend from Niall of the Nine Hostages, the founder of the Uí Néill dynasty. As the Mac Suibhne, they came to Ireland as gallowglasses and later on as pirates. They are recorded to have gone as far as the borders of Connaught in the 1340s.

The earliest reference to the name comes from Gilbert McNeill in 1329, fom Scotland in the reign of Robert the Bruce.

MacNeill dynasty, coat of arms, macneill

Their crest features a lion rampant on a green field, a castle in the water, thought to be Kisimul Castle in Scotland. The three-masted ship denotes their sea-faring prowess or possibly their migration from Ulster to Barra in Scotland. The red hand of Ulster, the O’Neill symbol, surrounded by nine shackles links it to the personage of Niall of the Nine Hostages, who lived in the 4th or 5th century.

Some variations of the name are McNeil, McNeill, MacNeil, and McNeal.